Samsung takes first 5G steps with advanced antenna

But not everyone is convinced the underlying technology will work

Samsung Electronics plans to use advanced antennas to boost the bandwidth in mobile networks by what it said was "several tens of Gbps per base station", but the improved bandwidth won't be commercially available until 2020.

The company said it can now transmit data at up to 1.056Gbps over distances of up to 2 kilometers using the 28GHz spectrum band.

Spectrum bands that high, which are called millimeter-wave because of the short wavelengths, have both pros and cons. They allow for access to lots of spectrum, which means higher speeds, but signals are not transmitted well over long distances.

Samsung thinks it can overcome that problem with a new adaptive array transceiver that uses 64 antenna elements. The company hasn't provided much detail on how the array works. But, in general, adaptive arrays are used to electronically control the direction of a signal, according to Jens Zander , professor and dean at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

However, Zander isn't convinced that Samsung can overcome the poor signal propagation characteristics.

"At these frequencies the wavelengths are so short that all obstacles become massive. Even your own body casts a large shadow. That has been shown by a number of studies," Zander said.

The key to building faster networks, especially indoors, lies in coming up with better ways of putting a larger number of smaller base stations closer to users, according to Zander.

Today, millimeter-wave spectrum is increasingly being used in cellular networks, but for wireless backhaul links. They are used to connect base stations of all sizes with the rest of the operator's network. The market is set to double in 2013, fueled by the growth of LTE networks, according to Infonetics Research.

Here adaptive arrays can be used simplify network configuration. Instead of having personnel in the field manually setting up the antenna it can configure itself, Zander said.

Samsung isn't the only company experimenting with next-generation networks. Earlier this year, NTT DoCoMo announced it and the Tokyo Institute of Technology had transmitted data at 10Gbps, using 400MHz of spectrum in the 11GHz band. The amount of spectrum compares to current LTE networks, which use up to 20MHz.

To make the higher speed it too used multiple antennas: eight to transmit the data and 16 antennas to receive it. The underlying techology is multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), which is already used in current LTE networks, but with fewer antennas.

Interestingly, the Japanese operator never used the 5G term in its announcement, instead referring to "super-high-bit-rate mobile communications."

But more announcements regarding 5G advancements will surely come, because even though it will take many years before the first networks become commercially available the race between vendors and countries is very much on. For a vendor like Samsung -- whose mobile network equipment isn't as well known as its devices -- it is important to show technological prowess and that the company is in it for the long haul.

"Samsung is still small, but did really well last year compared to the market. It has the ambition to grow and part of that is wanting to be seen," said Sylvain Fabre, research director at Gartner.

Others have also announced 5G plans, including the European Commission. In February, vice president Neelie Kroes announced a €50 million (US$65 million) investment in research to deliver 5G mobile technology by 2020, with the aim of putting Europe back in the lead of the global mobile industry.

NTT DoCoMo's experiment, meanwhile, was sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationSamsung Electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?